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Variety and the evolution of refinery processing

Author

Listed:
  • Phuong Nguyen
  • Pier-Paolo Saviotti
  • Michel Trommetter
  • Bernard Bourgeois

Abstract

Evolutionary theories of economic development stress the role of variety as both a determinant and a result of growth. In this paper we develop a measure of variety, based on Weitzman's maximum likelihood procedure. This measure is based on the distance between products, and indicates the degree of differentiation of a product population. We propose a generic method, which enables the regrouping of products with very similar characteristics values before choosing randomly the product models to be used to calculate Weitzman's measure. We apply the variety measure to process characteristics of oil refining. The results obtained for this technology show classic evolutionary specialization patterns that can be understood on the basis of niche theory. Here the changes in variety are related to changes in the range of the services the technology considered can deliver, a range which plays a role similar to that of the size of the habitat of a biological species. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Phuong Nguyen & Pier-Paolo Saviotti & Michel Trommetter & Bernard Bourgeois, 2005. "Variety and the evolution of refinery processing," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 469-500, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:14:y:2005:i:3:p:469-500
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. By Michael Funke & Ralf Ruhwedel, 2001. "Product Variety and Economic Growth: Empirical Evidence for the OECD Countries," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(2), pages 1-1.
    2. Frenken, Koen & Saviotti, Paolo P. & Trommetter, Michel, 1999. "Variety and niche creation in aircraft, helicopters, motorcycles and microcomputers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 469-488, June.
    3. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," Working Paper Series rwp00-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Herbert A. Simon, 1996. "The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691914, January.
    5. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    6. Utterback, James M. & Suarez, Fernando F., 1993. "Innovation, competition, and industry structure," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-21, February.
    7. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2001. "The Acceleration of Variety Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 274-280, May.
    8. Saviotti, P. P. & Metcalfe, J. S., 1984. "A theoretical approach to the construction of technological output indicators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 141-151, June.
    9. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carolina Castaldi & Roberto Fontana & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2009. "‘Chariots of fire’: the evolution of tank technology, 1915–1945," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 545-566, August.
    2. Karolina Safarzyńska & Jeroen Bergh, 2010. "Evolutionary models in economics: a survey of methods and building blocks," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 329-373, June.
    3. Witt, Ulrich, 2010. "Symbolic consumption and the social construction of product characteristics," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 17-25, March.
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:93:y:2012:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0767-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Frenken, Koen & Pyka, Andreas & Verspagen, Bart & Windrum, Paul, 2010. "Innovation, qualitative change and economic development--Special issue in honour of Pier-Paolo Saviotti," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, March.
    6. Martin Woerter, 2009. "Industry diversity and its impact on the innovation performance of firms," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(5), pages 675-700, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General

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